Mac Pass Trails Closed Weekdays

The USFS has closed the Mac Pass Ski Trails for hazardous tree removal near the powerline, starting Monday, February 2. This closure may last up to 3 weeks.

The trails will be closed to all skiers Monday-Friday, but open on the weekends and holidays. Hopefully, the weekends will still be great skiing, and if we're lucky the work will proceed quicker than expected.

LCNSC will continue to groom for weekend and holiday skiing. We will keep people informed of the grooming through the listserv, blog, and (forthcoming) new website.

Please respect this closure order, for your safety, but additionally to demonstrate Helena's Nordic skiing community's ongoing cooperative, responsible partnership with the Forest Service.

Please contact any board member with questions or if you would like additional information. Thanks.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Grooming Report Friday Night/Saturday Morning

Trails were groomed again Friday evening. A couple of ruts in a spot on Porcupine, but other than that everything should ski nicely Saturday. The colder temps have helped a lot. Not sure about track setting, but I will report again Saturday afternoon.

Mac Pass Trails Closure - Weekdays beginning 2/2/15

In regards to the previous email and blog post, on 1/28/15, about hazard tree removal for the power line on Mac Pass, the US Forest Service has informed us that the closure of Mac Pass trails will be effective starting Monday, February 2, and the work may last up to 3 weeks.

The trails will be closed to all skiers Monday-Friday, but open on the weekends. It is the club's intention to continue to groom for weekend skiing. We will keep people informed of the grooming through the listserv, blog, and (forthcoming) new website. We ask that everyone respect the closure order, most importantly for skier safety, but additionally the USFS is an important partner and big supporter of the ski club and the trails at Mac Pass and we want to continue our good relationship with them. Hopefully, the weekends will still be great skiing, and if we're lucky the work will proceed quicker than expected.

Please feel free to contact any of the board members with questions or if you would like additional information. Thanks.



Mac Pass Grooming Report 1/30/15

Several laps with the ginzu were completed up at Mac Pass Friday morning to break up the transformed snow and freshen everything up. Big Pine, Haul Road, and Porcupine were the focus. The groomer (Ryan Grove) said Big Pine and Haul Road are probably skiing the best right now. He is planning to head back out this evening to continue to work on things, and we will try to report on the conditions either tonight or tomorrow morning.  The colder temps are helping, and with some TLC the trails should be good skiing this weekend. Thanks Ryan!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Upcoming Powerline Work Affecting Mac Pass Trails

Northwestern Energy (NWE), with permission from the Forest Service, has plans to perform hazard tree removal along the power line that runs up to the top of Mac Pass. This will entail removing hazard trees within 100 feet of the power line along its alignment. The power line serves vital communications equipment at the top of the mountain that handles virtually all of the emergency response communication for the Helena Valley, Highway Patrol, Lewis & Clark Sheriff and Fire response, among others. As a result of beetle killed trees and tree fall, the power is currently intermittent and the communications equipment must run on propane generators, which are intended only as backup and not the primary source of power.  Unfortunately the timing isn't great, but the work has to be completed during the winter months to avoid undue environmental impacts.

The power line runs parallel to and crosses the ski trails in places. As a result, to ensure safety, the ski trails may be closed on weekdays when the heavy equipment is working, but the intent is to have them open on the weekends. In addition, in areas where the power line crosses the ski trails, equipment will cross the trails and likely tear them up. The Forest Service and NWE have assured us that they understand the importance of protecting the ski trails, and the contractor will restore crossings to useable conditions when the work is complete. The details are not yet final, and are weather dependent, but the work could start as soon as February 2nd. We will continue to work with the Forest Service to avoid impacts and keep as much of the trail system open as possible.

At this point, there are not any other details to share, but as the Board talks to the Forest Service we will keep you informed via emails and the blog. Please check back regularly for updates. If you have any questions, please contact any of the Board members, and thanks for your patience!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Equipment/Grooming Update

The big Polaris machine was repaired Monday evening and moved down to the grooming cabin. Thank you to Taylor and Tygen for their hard work getting things up and running! They pulled a ginzu behind them as they drove down to clean up the trails a little bit, and then there will be grooming Tuesday morning. Hopefully with the forecast of a little colder weather, things will start shaping up nicely.

At this point, the grooming schedule has grooming at Mac Pass every day of the week through February 21. We will work to keep everyone in the loop as to the conditions.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Grooming Equipment Update

Just wanted to let you all know that there is a broken part on the Polaris (some of you may have seen it on Little Porcupine loop). The fix is in the works and some very capable people are taking care of it. We may have to wait a day or two on the part if it can't be sourced locally. This may delay grooming for the first part of the week. We'll keep the club updated.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mac Pass Conditions Report Saturday 1/24/14

It was warm up there (38*F) but the trails were firm and had a little give so you could get an edge. Not icy but not as soft as you might expect from the recent weather. Classic track appeared to have been set most places. There is some tree debris on some of trails, but not too bad. Upper Micro is very chewed up due to the utility work this past week, but main Micro has a flat spot (if narrow) on the uphill side. It appears the utility crews tried to stay to one side with the snow cat, so considering what Upper looks like, it's not too bad.

It feels like spring skiing.

Still a great base of snow, and with a few more inches, the skiing will be great!